Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MUDROOM PANTRY STORAGE BOXES

When it's rainy and/or muddy and too wet to do much outside, there is always something we can do inside.  One of the things I wanted to do was take care of some of the clutter in the mudroom.  We had things stacked on the shelves that needed to be a bit more organized.  Rolls of foil and parchment and cups and plastic utensils and things like that.  

You know, the little things that never seem to stay stacked up neatly and end up every which direction falling off the shelves and to the back of the shelves.


We had these white IKEA storage boxes that were part of another piece of furniture (they fit into little cubby holes).  I moved them out to the mudroom and put them on top of the shelves.  They fit perfectly.  We have eight of them (one is on the other set of shelves just out of picture view) and they worked great for what we wanted to use them for.


For example in this one we are storing our plastic wrap, foil, wax paper, ziplock bags, parchment, etc. 


Another one we used for plastic cups, ice cube trays, paper plates, insulated reusable coffee cups, etc.

I didn't take pictures of all of them but another has seasonal items (egg dying supplies, pumpkin carving tools, ice cream sandwich makers, etc), another has plastic plate holders, napkins, retro condiment bottles, corn on the cob holders, etc).  

The good thing is there are still three that are empty!  Whatever will be put in them?  HA!

Anyone else ever get inspired to organize on a rainy or cold day?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

CLEAR SKIES AND GOOD EATS

It's been a gorgeous weekend.  Wet though.  Friday night we got about 2 inches of rain.  Good for the plants but bad for working in the yard.  With the cold temps and standing water from last week, it was wet and muddy.


But the skies were blue and clear.  Took this picture in color and it looks clear and bright and nice.


And then I took the same photo in black and white.  It's funny how this makes it look cold and wintry.

Peach blossoms
I took this closeup of the peach blossoms, so pretty in the middle of all the mostly dormant Winter plants.  Harvested some more collard greens.  Cabbage looks like it's getting closer now.  Fingers crossed.

Pork chop dinner
We had some pan seared pork chops, green beans and dressing for dinner, always filling and yummy, and then...

Chocolate cake
2nd Man decided to make a cake... 

A chocolate cake...

Triple layer chocolate cake
A triple layer chocolate cake...

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, January 11, 2019

WICKER TRAYS TRASH TO TREASURE

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock, where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found quite a few cool items so far.
Here are the latest!



I found these the other day.  Someone decided they were ready to be discarded. They are wonderfully sized trays, with a seagrass type of wicker on the outside.


The bottoms are sturdy with a piece of wood to reinforce them.  Nice handle openings on each side and are in great condition. 

I'll clean them up of course but was thinking of lining the bottoms with fabric?  Or maybe decoupage and then put a piece of glass over that?



Thursday, January 10, 2019

OLD FASHIONED WELL PUMP INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


We love these old manual well pumps.  I'm not sure if they have some sort of 'official name' but we always thought one would look cool in a flower bed or next to the house like the one above.  Non functioning of course but they still look nice.  There probably aren't many around anymore that are used but you never know.  

My Grandmother used to tell me about getting water from one of these when it had a cup hanging on it and she always said it was the coldest and best water ever on a hot Summer day.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

SHEET PAN HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES RECIPE

We (well, me especially) like to cook meals on sheet pans.  It's so easy, almost always just one pan, easy to put together and easy to clean up.  Here is another one I recently tried:


These are the ingredients.  Pretty easy to pull together.  


Mix the olive oil, the juice of ONE lemon (reserve the other one), minced garlic, and mustard into a dressing/marinade.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


Cut the potatoes and the larger Brussels sprouts in half and scatter on the sheet pan in an even layer. Forgot to mention, you can cover the bottom of the pan with foil or spray non stick spray if you'd like, our pan is very nonstick and the olive oil in the dressing works to keep things from sticking. 


Spread them evenly on the pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper (to taste) and about half the dressing mixture.  Roast in the oven for 10 minutes to give the potatoes a head start at cooking. 


Remove from the oven add the chicken breasts.  Pour the rest of the dressing mixture over the chicken breasts and place back in the oven.


Roast for about 25 minutes or until chicken is done.  You want the potatoes to be fork tender and of course the chicken needs to be to safe temperature.


Dish it up and serve!  Very yummy and of course, easy clean up!


Monday, January 7, 2019

THE WEEKEND WAS GOOD



Its was a beautiful weekend.  Not a cloud in the sky and nice and cool.  


Unfortunately it was SO wet.  Standing water everywhere.  This is the natural run of excess water, across the front yard and down the edge of the driveway toward the road.


But it was standing in many places.  This is where we usually park, closer to the front of the house and it was standing with water.  I had to park further mac (that's the car in the corner).  

Needless to say, no real yard work I could do.  I need to edge and I am hoping to mow at some point (to take down some dormant weeds) before it all comes roaring back in the Spring but it looks like I'll have to wait another couple of weeks.


Here are the citrus trees.  They are doing great on the porch.  These are the lemon and lime, the orange is just out of the camera shot.  All three green and leafy.  No hard freezes (knock on wood!) so they are fine.  An upcoming project will be to build the three additional raised beds behind the house so these can be placed with the other eight fruit trees this Spring.

I did some weeding in the raised beds and got the corner brackets and deck screws out and ready for building.  All we'll need now is the wood for the sides. 


Worked a bit in the garden as well.  Pulled random weeds that were popping up.  Didn't need to water for sure since we had four inches of rain.  Napa cabbage is growing well and getting larger and "tighter" in the center but still looks like we are a ways off from cabbages.  SO weird.  As long as they are green and growing I guess no need to worry just yet.  They are a Winter crop and we still have a couple more months of Winter weather potential before it starts getting warm for Spring.


Garlic is growing nicely.  Both beds look like this.  Should be a bumper crop next Spring/early Summer.


And speaking of the fruit trees, look at this!  This is one of the peach trees.  I gave up on it late in the Summer.  Stopped watering.  Stopped taking care of it.  I even put on the list of things to get this Spring "replacement peach tree".

I went out there this weekend and it is COVERED in blossoms!  Not sure what to do.  Obviously it is growing and doing its thing but they are everywhere on the tree.  I guess I will have to pinch them off but it was pretty amazing to see.  None of the other trees are blooming yet, so I guess you could call this one a "late bloomer"?  Haha!


Remember a couple of weeks ago I found $5 turkeys at the store?  2nd Man stayed in town to roast the two we got.  We oiled it up, inside and out, put our seasoning blend on it (also inside and out), placed it on a rack to elevate it a bit, and then roasted at 375 degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes.


At the end of that time, he turned the oven off and left it in for another 15 minutes, then took it out to rest.  So a total time in the oven of 2 1/2 hours (just the last 15 minutes with the oven off).  It came out golden and perfect.


2nd Man cut it up and we ate some and bagged up the rest for the freezer.   This was a Butterball "fresh turkey" and we dare say it was the best we've ever had.  So juicy and tender.  I don't know if it's how we cooked it or the brand or what but we'll definitely look for this next Thanksgiving for sure.


Wanted to share these cute little painted wooden blocks that I found for 2nd Man (they were his Christmas stocking gifts).  He loved them, even though I get to decorate with them, ha. 

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

OFF TO THE FARM


As this posts, I'm off to the farm, 2nd Man is staying in town and roasting turkeys, ha.  More on how that goes later.  

The weather is absolutely gorgeous.  Cool, breezy, not a cloud in the sky.  The only downside is 2nd Family said it is very wet at the farm.  Almost 4 inches of rain this week and with the cool temps, no way for it to evaporate.  We'll see.  

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!


Friday, January 4, 2019

FUNNY FRIDAY WITH CHICKENS

Warning:  This is a groaner!


We told you!
Hahahaha!

Saw this on Twitter the other day and it cracked us up (we're easily amused).  We thought we'd share.  It's been a weird week I've lost track of days, off, work, half day, off, work, now it's almost time to be off again...

Our weather has been rainy the last few days, 3" in most places, and it's cold (for us), 30's/40's. 


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

Well, it's here!


Today we are off.  It's a day to sleep in and rest up. No more holiday's off until Memorial Day.

I will reply to all of your well wishes from yesterday and last night but now we want to say to you all, we wish you the best New Year of all.  Here's hoping that 2019 turns out to be a great year for everyone.



And look what came in the mail yesterday!
'Tis the season for SEED CATALOGS!  Two at one time!  Talk about timely!  It's always a good time to daydream about Spring things in the middle of the afternoon...oh wait, is that how the song goes?



Monday, December 31, 2018

NEW YEARS EVE 2018



New Year's Eve 2018...

The waning hours of the year are upon us.

Anyone have a New Year's Eve tradition?  

 Our tradition is simple; we stay in, eat steaks and potatoes, pop open a bottle of something bubbly and watch the countdowns on TV.  We do NOT go out.  We just think it's too dangerous to drive especially in a huge city like Houston and that nothing good ever happens on the roads at 1am.

Plus the older we get, the less we like being in large crowds.  Is that wrong?